By Keiso Mohloboli
MASERU –– Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP)- Crime, ‘Matšepo Soko was sent on forced leave on Tuesday this week—a day after appearing in the Maseru Magistrate’s Court charged with two counts of corruption.
According to the charge sheet, Soko allegedly fraudulently facilitated the issuance of a firearm to a Chinese national, Cheng Ming, on 25 November 2013.
However, the court remanded Soko out of custody and ordered her back in the dock on 8 May, but the Lesotho Times has since established in addition to the 10-day forced leave, the ACP has been asked to give reasons , within seven days, why she should not be suspended pending the finalisation of her case.
Soko on Tuesday confirmed both the leave and ultimatum regarding the suspension.
“I don’t know why I was sent on leave, but I was given two letters before lunch today (Tuesday), which were signed by Commissioner of Police, Khothatso Tšooana.
“The first letter informed me that I was being sent on 10 days leave, while the other asked me to show cause or give reasons why I should not be suspended pending the finalisation of my court case. I am expected to give out those reasons within seven days,” Soko told the Lesotho Times.
But according to Police Spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli, ACP Soko had been asked to go home because the Public Service and police regulations require officers to utilise their leave days if they have reached a certain level.
“ACP Soko had so many leave days and she had to reduce them, which is why she has been granted the 10 leave days in question,” Mohloboli said.
“The other issue is she was not suspended, but requested to give reasons why she should not be interdicted from pursuing her duties as ACP during the course of her trial.”